Jesus' Mother and Brothers


This passage has been interpreted as Jesus rejecting his mother and brothers. Could you help me with this?


Mark 3:31 His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. 32 A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers* [and your sisters] are outside asking for you.” 33 But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?” 34 And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 35 [For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

I would not call this a rebuke. In Mark Chapter 3 we see Jesus being repeatedly depicted as being in conflict … conflict over working on the Sabbath, conflict with the Pharisees, etc. At the same time we see him bringing together a group of followers to whom his is giving a mission. So we see Jesus’ mother and other family members arrive …

Jesus states that "whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” …Did Mary not do the Will of God when she said "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” ? I would say that Mary is the perfect example of one who submits to the will of God. Thus Jesus cannot be rebuking his mother but using her “yes to God” as what it means to be His family.


On the parallel passage in Matthew 12:48-50, the Catholic Biblical Association’s A Commentary on the New Testament, published in 1942, says, in part:
48-50. By these words Jesus showed: (a) that the bond of spiritual relationship, founded on the union of the true children of the heavenly Father, is more important than that of blood relationship; (b) that He Himself carried out His own precepts concerning the demands of the kingdom of God and the demands of family ties (cf. 8, 21 f; 10, 37). But there is no disrespect shown here to His mother and His brethren. (source)


Here’s excellent sources from CA Apologists.

*]Doesn’t Scripture imply that Mary had children other than Jesus?
*] Did Jesus have brothers?
*] Perpetual Virginity: Why is this important?
*] Mary: Ever Virgin
*] Why should any doctrine not explicitly referred to in the Bible, be listened to?
*] How can we know a doctrine is true if it’s not in the Bible?
*] How do we know that the Protoevangelium of James is credible?
*] Does Church Tradition exist only to interpret Scripture?
*] Non-Canonical Writings…
*] Oral Traditions not found in the Bible


Who Is My Mother?

Matthew 12:46-50
46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (cf. Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21).

On another occasion, "A woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:27-28).

In these two passages, it seems that Jesus Himself depreciated the dignity of His Blessed Mother. In reality, Jesus places the bond that unites the soul with God above the natural bond of parentage which unites the Mother of God with her Divine Son. The latter dignity is not belittled by this, but because we naturally appreciate the family connection more easily, it is employed by Our Lord as a means to make known the real value of holiness. In actuality, therefore, Jesus praises His mother in a most emphatic way for she exceeded the rest of men in holiness not less than in dignity.

Most probably, Mary was found also among the holy women who ministered to Jesus and His apostles during their ministry in Galilee (cf. Luke 8:2-3); the Evangelists do not mention any other public appearance of Mary during the time of Jesus’ journeys through Galilee or Judea. But we must remember that when the sun appears, even the brightest stars become invisible.

Since Mary was Jesus’ mother and she did the will of the Father in heaven, she is doubly blessed.


It has only been interpreted as such by those who reject the authority of the Church.


If you look at the passage in historical context, it makes perfect sense and is not an denunciation of his mother and brothers at all.

This was in the final year of his life, which would have been A.D. 35 using a late-date scenario. He had retreated to the Galilee and away from Judea after John the Baptist had been arrested and subsequently executed.

Jesus was mainly preaching around the eastern shores of the Sea of Gennsareth in the Decapolis and steering clear of Herod Antipas’ territory on the western shores.

By then Jesus had made his intent known, to travel to Jerusalem and challenge the Priesthood. Already, he had introduced the Communion ceremony which was unique- to say the least- and had disgusted many of his followers to the point of leaving him.

Nazareth was not far away, and Mary was very anxious that her son was going off the deep end and might wind up dead- and was not helping the family name any. She persuaded a few of his brothers to come to try to convince him to give up all his religious nonsense and return home to Nazareth and the shop.

So that is a very defensible context and there was no global meaning to Jesus’ dismissal of his relatives.


Some of his family may have felt this way, but we have no reason to believe Mary did, and is a very non-Catholic statement to make.


You are getting quite prodigious. Every time I look, there is another apologetic posted. :thumbsup:

I think Jesus was RAISING us all to the status of his mother, so that we can become adopted sons and daughters. Revelation depicts His mother watching over all those who follow her Son.


Well, to be fair, you could say that a couple of his brothers were very troubled and they made sure that Mary came along with them so that Jesus could understand how concerned they were about his actions. In that case, Mary would come off in a much more Catholic light.


Jesus was teaching us, what ought to be our lives priorities:

GOD 1st

Family second

Everything else falls below these:)

There was NO rebuke, just a Moral Lesson


I really don’t see why a woman who saw an angel who told her that she would bear the Son of God instantly doing something like that. The way I see it, Jesus brothers probably dragged her along with them.


Jesus isn’t rejecting his mother. He is praising her.

And he was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you. But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:20-21)

Nobody heard and did the will of God more than Mary.



I am sure she was happy to see Jesus. It may have been her idea to go! She knew that He was not cracked, but a woman did not travel alone, so male relatives needed to accompany her.

I always imagined that he went out to them after this, and was happy to see His mother, though perhaps less so His brethren.


Well considering His relatives went to restrain him because they thought He was mad…:shrug: They might have dragged Mary along with them.


Jesus disobeyed a commandment of God and dishonored his mother? No.

Every time Jesus mentions his brethren it refers to biological? All who do the will of his Father would make lots of brethren.

It’s fundamentalist interpretation which begins with the goal of contradicting the RCC.


I know it is possible, but I just don’t see it. Knowing they did not believe and were alarmed, she might have gone to comfort them and try to evangelize them. After his death, they did come to believe, but at that point they thought he was cracked.


Jesus relatives went to restrain Him because they thought He was…you know. Given the fact that His mother was a part of only a few who did believe, they probably would have dragged her. For me, this is an example of how those who don’t believe in Jesus disrespect His mother also.


Good point. Poor mama! But I think this is also the answer to “a sword will pierce your own heart also”. and that she is a sign of contradiction. Those who are not in right relationship with Christ will, by definition,not have a right relationship with HIs mother.


Shortly before- some weeks or months, Jesus not only introduced the cult-like communion ceremony which lost him a lot of followers, but also declared he was the Messiah in his hometown Nazareth synagogue. At that time, the crowd grabbed him and was going to throw him off a nearby cliff, but Jesus managed to get away.

So, you see, there were grounds for concern for his family. Certainly, his brothers at least were embarrassed and, after all, they had a business to run and Jesus wasn’t helping in that regard.

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